One of my favorite events to attend with my six year-old son is the Hammer Museum’s K.A.M.P.(Kids Art Museum Project) event. The museum filled with families who came out to meet and work with accomplished artists leading workshops for the kids, indulge on Wolfgang Puck & Sprinkles Cupcakes kid friendly delicacies, listen to celebrities reading their favorite children’s books, and collect giveaways from generous corporate sponsors, such as Puma and Stella McCartney Kids.
Started by Brooke Kanter four years ago, the event supports children’s programs at the Hammer. “The idea was a way to connect my kids to the museum. When I was a little girl there was a children’s museum downtown, and I went with my mom, and I remember painting with Chuck Arnoldi. I thought it was such an incredible experience. I want my children to have the opportunity to do something that’s intelligent and not just crafty. And who better to turn to than these incredible artists who bring their own thought process to these kids rather than dumbing it down.” What a better way to get a child excited about going to a museum than to have them explore their creativity with such inspirational visionaries as the amazing graffiti artist Retna, whose larger than life murals decorate the recently renovated West Hollywood Library and Michael Kohn’s Gallery on Beverly Blvd and Crescent Heights.
Hundreds of kids stormed the marble courtyard of the museum with their parents and participated in hands on workshops designed by the artists themselves. K.A.M.P. always features renowned L.A. artists, and many of them have been the subject of exhibitions at the Hammer or are represented in the Hammer Contemporary Collection. Some of my son’s favorite stations this year included creating Collapse Construction with Nery Gabriel Lemus, Sticker Making/Sticker Sharing with Pearl Hsiung, and Our House with Anila Rubiku. He was psyched to make this chic house night light for his room out of paper and poke it with pins to let the little LED light underneath shine through.
Throughout the day celebrity parents, such as Julie Bowen and Jodie Foster, draw groups of kids and parents into the galleries for story time. In the past, Will Farrell, Hilary Swank, and Jason Bateman have also been storytellers. Who doesn’t love to listen to your favorite childhood book being read aloud? It’s a perfect way to clear your head between art workshops.
Tickets cost $150, but as one party goer pointed out, it’s worth it find hundreds of kids, mostly between the ages of 2-10, and none of them are crying or having tantrums! The young attendees are so immersed in creating their artwork and using their imagination in part because the artists bring their own process to each of the workshops. Artists are given free reign in regards to the projects they present, and the kids benefit from artists guiding them through their own process.
I can’t wait until next year. My middle son will be almost 5 and I look forward to him joining us on this adventure and seeing what his inner artist creates. My sons and their friends are the next generation of museum goers, and K.A.M.P. is the perfect way to introduce real culture into their lives in a hands-on way.
Written by TFS Subscriber Lori Gray.